As we head into midlife does it seem like you are spending more time in the bathroom or actually running to the bathroom?
If you think it is just your imagination, it is not! As we get older, overactive bladder is more common in women and 40% of women over the age of forty can experience overactive bladder. As a matter of fact, one study shows that a whopping 68% of women over the age of forty experience overactive bladder at least once a month!
When Are You Considered to Have an Overactive Bladder?
You are considered to have an overactive bladder if you urinate eight or more times during the day or two or more times at night. While overactive bladder can be extremely frustrating, embarrassing and often not talked about; there are essential steps that you can easily incorporate into your day to reduce trips to the bathroom.
Dietary changes are the simplest first step to improving symptoms of overactive bladder. There are many foods that can increase bladder urgency. When possible take note of any foods that are affecting your need to urinate more frequently. You may even want to keep a food diary.
Foods that can Increase Bladder Urgency Include:
Taking a look at this list. Think about it, if you had two cups of coffee in the morning with artificial sweetener and then a glass of orange juice which is acidic, you would have a much higher chance of starting off your day with bladder urgency and more trips to the bathroom!
Gut Health is Essential:
Gut Health is also essential in helping with overactive bladder. Constipation can increase symptoms of overactive bladder so it is important to keep things moving. While most people think of taking a probiotic daily to improve gut health there are also other ways to improve gut health beyond taking a probiotic. Increase fiber in your diet by eating fruits and vegetables and other fiber filled foods like oats and beans. Taking a collagen supplement daily is very helpful in healing the gut lining or even having bone broth is a great way to increase collagen!
Last but not least, stay hydrated! While it may seem counterintuitive to drink water when you have an overactive bladder it is important to stay hydrated. Sip throughout the day instead of drinking a large amount at once. By staying hydrated, your urine will be more dilute and not as irritating to the bladder. Hydration is also important in preventing Urinary Tract Infections.Hydration also helps with constipation which can trigger overactive bladder symptoms.
While frequent trips to the bathroom can be frustrating and embarrassing throughout the day there are steps you can take to help ease symptoms. If you have any questions you can talk to your physician. Your doctor can write a prescription for a medication for overactive bladder or a referral to a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist to learn how to properly do Kegel exercises which can help with symptoms as well. While overactive bladder is common, it does not have to be accepted as just a normal part of midlife. Making some changes to your diet and lifestyle can help you to stop seeing the bathroom as often as you may be seeing it now!